Think October. Think cool nights at the campfire. Think brightly colored autumn leaves. Think fields full of pumpkins with the orange orbs standing out more each day as the vines and foliage wither. Hmmm …pumpkins … jack-o-lanterns … pies … spices. Smack your lips!
Now that your taste buds are on high alert, give them what they want with these pumpkin brews in cans. Aluminum clad pumpkin beers can be a bit tough to find, but when you crack one open at the campfire and savor the spice, you’ll know the hunt was worth it.
Brewery: O’Fallon Brewery
Style: Spiced American Ale
ABV: 5.60 %
Tasting Notes: O’Fallon Brewery (named after its hometown in Missouri) reveals its secret recipe for its highly anticipated annual batch of simply named “Pumpkin Beer.” To get their pumpkin pie in a bottle flavor, they mix 120 pounds of real pumpkin to their 3-barely mash and season the finished beer with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves – but, of course, they aren’t giving away the proportions on those. This seasonal brew is available August through October each year on tap, in bottles, and of course, campsite convenient cans. Color is a rich amber. The whole well-spiced, but not overpowering pie is there in the aroma. This is an easy-drinking pumpkin beer with which to toast the fall of autumn and the onslaught of winter.
Brewery: Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Style: Unfiltered Ale
Tasting Notes: Harpoon’s UFO Pumpkin (UFO stands for “Unfiltered Offering” by the way) is as classic to New England as leaf viewing … and a whole lot more tasty! The Harpoon website offers an apt description of the flavor: “Imagine a pumpkin vine would find its way into a field of barley, and a brewer harvested it all to make a beer. Add Northwestern hops and a blend of spices, and you’ve got UFO Pumpkin.”
It’s available from August through November on draft, in bottles and in 12 packs of cans. Its color will remind you of apple cider, maybe just a bit more orange. Unfiltered, it’s murky because it’s supposed to be. Though ginger isn’t listed among the spices, it sure tastes like it’s there; brown sugar, too. UFO Pumpkin can be considered dessert, or pairs well with dessert, especially something really sweet and creamy. The last toasted marshmallow of the season, perhaps?
Brewery: Cisco Brewers
Style: Pumpkin Ale
Tasting Notes: Pumple Drumkin has to be the craft brewer’s academy award winner for the beer with the name that’s the most fun to say! “Pumple Drumkin” – how does it get any better than that! Available on tap and in cans from August through October it comes from, not surprisingly, another New England brewer. They’re big on pumpkins up there. Pours the color of a newly minted penny. The taste of the pumpkin and spice are there, but it’s not as overpoweringly sweet as some other pumpkin ales. That can be a good thing or a less than desirable thing depending on your palate, but it allows maximum flavor and more refreshment served at cooler temperatures than others, too. Again, good or bad depending on your own taste. If you like IPA and can imagine it with a hint of pumpkin and spice, Pumple Drumkin may make a good first foray into pumpkin brew for you.
Sweet Potato Ale
Brewery: Piney River Brewing Company
Style: Spiced Vegetable Beer
Tasting Notes: Come the fall, we all think about pumpkin pie. But have you ever had a New England squash pie? Or how ‘bout a Southern sweet potato pie? If you haven’t you’re missing something … and here’s your chance to round out your culinary worldliness with sweet tater pie in a can – Sweet Potato Ale from Piney River Brewing Company in Bucyrus, Missouri. Best served at 50-55 degrees, a can of Sweet Potato Ale will reveal why Southerners have largely kept the deliciousness of sweet potato pie to themselves all these years. It’s just too good not to share! Try it with the makings of classic fall comfort food like smoked meats or roast turkey, maybe butternut squash with butter, or sharp cheddar cheese. The roasted sweet taters, spices and vanilla beans incorporated in the brewing will shine through. If you’re new to these spiced brews, try some pumpkin ales to wet your feet, then crack open a Piney River Sweet Potato Ale. The pear, all-spice, cinnamon and, well, sweet potatoes, may start you down a whole new adventurous journey. Isn’t that why we are here?